April 21, 2019

Resurrection Timeline

Passage: John 20:1-20

The simple statement, “Jesus rose from the dead,” is the single most significant claim of Christianity. Everything in the Christian faith hinges on the resurrection. If it happened, it validates everything Jesus did and said. If it didn’t happen, Christianity is invalid and can be dumped into the garbage can of history.

Quote:  If [Jesus] rose, He is the Son of God, equal with the Father, God manifest in the flesh; the [savior of mankind]; the Messiah predicted by the prophets; the prophet, priest, and king of his people; his sacrifice has been accepted as a satisfaction to divine justice, and his blood as a ransom for many.[1]

Today is Resurrection Sunday, and we boldly proclaim our belief that what the Bible says is true: Jesus rose from the dead.

Most of the information about the resurrection of Jesus Christ is contained in the four NT Gospel accounts. But each Gospel contains somewhat different information. Each author is writing to a different audience. Each author includes in his Gospel the information that he wanted to include and that he felt was necessary. Each Gospel account, therefore, has a slightly different point of view.

The Gospel accounts are not complete biographies of Jesus’ life and times. The Gospels contain selective reports of events that include only some things Jesus said and did. And beyond that, some of the material may not be in strict chronological order. But the material included in the Gospels is more than enough to lead a person to genuine faith in Christ.

In order to get a full understanding of all the events associated with Jesus’ resurrection, we would have to put together all the Gospel accounts—a harmony of the Gospels. That’s what I’m am attempting to do this morning. I want to consider the timeline of events, pulling from all of the Gospel writers, to give us an overview of exactly what happened on that Sunday morning nearly 2000 years ago when Jesus rose again. We don’t get this full account from any one of the Gospels; we have to put all the biblical information together to produce a full report.

You’ve no doubt heard the resurrection story, but perhaps not all the details rolled into one timeline, one running account. In fact, putting all the details into a timeline is rather difficult. I do not claim that the timeline I’m presenting here is perfectly accurate or exhaustive. Getting all the facts to fit together is something like putting together a puzzle. But I trust that my timeline is fairly accurate. At least it contains all the main events.

Today we are celebrating the central, defining claim of Christianity—Jesus rose from the dead. Let’s see what happened on that great day so many years ago.

[1] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 627.

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